Willie Mullins

Mullins To Finish With A Flourish In Stayers’

We’ve got another eight race bonanza at Punchestown on Thursday and some good betting opportunities for punters to get stuck into throughout the day.

Bet on Bapaume
The Champion Stayers’ Hurdle could be returning to Closutton this year with the race opening up for Cheltenham Festival fourth Bapaume.

With Supasundae sticking to the Champion Hurdle on Friday and Apple’s Jade also going there this turned out to be a very open looking renewal for Bapaume to finally make his mark at this level.

The Rich Ricci-owned six-year-old is a Prix La Barka winner in France but hasn’t managed to score in Grade 1 company since his juvenile days.

That said, he has been a consistent performer and prior to finishing fourth at Cheltenham he ran well in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park.

His best form seems to be in the spring and summer of the year although he was well beaten in this race last year by Faugheen.

Aux Ptits Soins is of interest for Dan Skelton and if Cracking Smart came back to his best form he could be the biggest danger to the selection for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown but Bapaume is the pick of the bunch this time around.


Curious Times can run riot in the opener
With a full field of 25 runners on fresh ground in the first race today it would look to be the perfect starting point for bookmakers on day three but there is one horse that could well make this look fairly straightforward if he gets luck in running.

Curious Times hasn’t appeared since winning at Down Royal as a 16/1 shot in January and the form of that race could hardly have worked out any better.

When winning that maiden hurdle, Curious Times was rated 105 and he got an 8lbs hike for the success. With the form working out so well since then, the handicapper has given him another 3lbs but 116 still looks a mark where he can give a good account of himself.

Curious Times beat Black Tears by nearly three lengths in Down Royal and Dommage Pour Toi was way back in third.

Black Tears went on to win her maiden at Fairyhouse and run a blinder at the Cheltenham Festival, while Dommage Pour Toi was second at Leopardstown next time and then went on to win a good race at Fairyhouse last month.
If Curious Times can improve again like his connections felt he would after Down Royal, he could actually represent very good value in the opening race of the card.

Winners bumper to throw up the stars
The final race at Punchestown on Thursday is a cracker and is sure to see many of the six runners return to this meeting next season contesting some of the Graded novice hurdles here.

It may be worth taking a chance with the Martin Brassil-trained You Raised Me Up here. He is likely to be coming in under the radar a little bit here as he is the longest off the track and he has secured just one win in four starts.

That win was at the Galway Festival last summer and again the form of that race has worked out with the runner-up since winning and the third horse was Golden Spread who ran in the Champion Bumper here after winning at Fairyhouse last week.

You Raised Me Up ran well at this meeting last year when fourth to Lone Wolf at a big price and must have had a setback that prevented him from going over hurdles but he can end the season on a high if winning this hot looking race.

Recommended Bets:
Curious Times – 3.40 Punchestown
Bapaume – 5.30 Punchestown
You Raised Me Up – 7.45 Punchestown